July 31, from Louie, Day 61

Oh, Pops,

I am in despair. ‘N’ Mom is so mad, she can’t talk without spittin’ nails.

The National Park Service has decided to execute innocent deer!

I knew somethin’ was terrible wrong when Mom started chokin’ on her coffee whilst readin’ the mornin’ newspaper. I had to pounce on her back ‘n’ jump up ‘n’ down until she regained her breath enough to tell me the horrible news.

“Oh, nooooooooooooooo!” I wailed. ‘N’ then I started chokin’ ‘n’ Mom had to jump up ‘n’ down on my back.

Louie scratchin' his many itchies.

Louie scratchin’ his many itchies.

Well, once we both stopped chokin’, Mom read me the story in the paper about the impendin’ slaughter of the deer herd, ‘n’ Pops, the more Mom read, the more outraged I got.

“They wanna kill how many deer?” I demanded.

“At least 375 a year,” Mom said, her voice shakin’ at the atrocity.

“But why?”

” ‘Cuz the park service says they’re eatin’ too many wildflowers.”

“They’re gonna kill 375 deer ‘cuz they eat wildflowers?” I asked, absolutely stunned.

Mom was too appalled to speak. She just nodded, ‘n’ tiny tears formed in her eyes at the thought of all them dumb animals that will be lured into the sharpshooters’ gallery with false promises of food ‘n’ comfort.

Pops, my claws are tremblin’ even as I type this. All I can think of is that horrible killin’ field that you ‘n’ me found down at Big Bend last winter, ‘n’ the stench of it is still reekin’ in my memory banks. The only way I was able to cope with that nauseatin’ discovery was your assurances that if the deer could find their way to the national park, they’d be safe.

‘N’ now the federal government is tellin’ me they aren’t safe even there.

This is soooooooooooooooo wrong, Pops. My poor Maria ‘n’ her many descendants have never done nothin’ to deserve this, ‘n’ I am overcome with grief. Deer is such peace-lovin’ creatures (with the possible exception of Uncle Buck). How can the parks decide it’s OK to commit deerocide? How come some flowers that don’t do nothin’ but bloom once a year is more important than a gentle deer than can run like the wind?

I just can’t comprehend this brand o’ human logic.

‘N’ I gotta tell you, Pops, if you ‘n’ Mom don’t march on park headquarters ‘n’ burn your volunteer uniforms in protest, well then, I got no use for you.

This is wrong, wrong, wrong, ‘n’ I expect you ‘n’ Mom to stand up for what is right.

Your highly indignant,


Pops replies:

Oh, Louie: You are so right — it is wrong, wrong, wrong. Indeed, a sad day in Louie-land and for your Mom who so loves to watch the deer.

Published in: on July 31, 2013 at 8:33 pm  Leave a Comment  

July 30, from Louie, Day 60

Oh, Pops!

Mom ‘n’ me (well, me mostly) are beside ourselves with excitement. Real baby bear scat (see, I’m usin’ the proper wildlife words you taught me) right in our own side yard!!!!!!

I’m so fired up at the prospect of patrolin’ for bear, I done EVERYTHIN’ you told me:

1. Report to Tommy Lee. Check. (He was MOST annoyed, let me tell you. He said if it hadn’t’ve been for that darned mandatory furlough, those rogue bears woulda been spotted two weeks ago for sure. Who knows HOW MANY yards they’ve pooped on in the last two weeks? Hunnerds, prob’bly, ‘n’ no one on duty to spot it!)

2. Set up barkin’ relays. Check. (The neighborhood has been hammered by so many barks today, it’s almost drowned out the 24/7 basketball games in the street.) All the dogs has signed on, even that Evil Cody ‘n’ his mysterious mistress Mata Stella, although I’m kinda worried that Cody isn’t relayin’ messages verbarkim. Tommy Lee just called ‘n’ wanted to know who the heck’s cloggin’ up the barkin’ lines with lame jokes about bears poopin’ in the woods. I didn’t name names, but I did happen to mention that white dogs aren’t bred for reliability OR standup comedy.

3. Keep vigil, bark, bark, barkin’ all through the night. Well, that goes without sayin’!

I’m psyched, Pops. This is my first assignment all summer that hasn’t been weather related, so maybe this time, I can get somethin’ done. NO ONE accomplishes nothin’ against Mother Nature, but bear patrol — that’s got so MANY possibilities!!!!!

We could organize a concert in the park to set up a disaster fund for dogs mauled by bears.

We could knock the missin’ kids off milk cartons ‘n’ ask instead if anyone’s seen this bear?

We could conduct classes on what to do if you spot a bear curled up on your patio.

We could rent a helicopter ‘n’ reconnoiter from the air.

Louie is pretty sure there's a baby bear hidin' in the tree.

Louie is pretty sure there’s a baby bear hidin’ in the tree.

We could go whitewater raftin’ on the Little Cuyahoga ‘n’ catch ’em while they’re fishin’.

But best of all, this bein’ garbage night, we could bait a coupla trash cans ‘n’ tie ’em up when they come foragin’.

(“Louie, don’t you even THINK about baitin’ the garbage. I will NOT have you harassin’ a hungry bear!” “Aw, Mom — ” “Don’t you ‘Aw, Mom’ me. This isn’t some summer barbecue for you ‘n’ your relayin’ dogs. It’s a very dangerous situation.” “But, Mom — ” “I mean it, Lou. You go near them garbage cans ‘n’ I’m cuttin’ off your chicken sprinkles.” “Mom, you wouldn’t DARE.” “Just try me, buster.”)


On second thought, maybe I should just stick with the bark, bark, barkin’ all night until Smokey gets out the word to his Ohio buddies.

‘N’, of course, I’ll do my best to keep Mom outta harm’s way.

Even though at this particular moment, I’m not sure it’s a good use of my many talents.

Your devoted sentinel on Canyon Trail,


Pops replies:

Oh, Louie: Your Pops has been a bit under the weather for the past two days. However, I rest easy knowing that you have taken charge of the neighborhood bear patrol. Good job, Lou!

Published in: on July 30, 2013 at 8:38 pm  Leave a Comment  

July 29, from Louie, Day 59

Well, Pops,

You can stand down.

The crisis is over.

‘N’ it’s all Mom’s fault.

Tommy Lee called me on my dumb phone first thing this mornin’ — as soon as he got back from his two-week government-ordered furlough. Seems the entire MIB organization was on furlough ‘cuz  of this continuin’ sequestration thing.

I woulda been on furlough, too, ‘cept it appears my notification got dumped with the junk mail into the recycle bin.

(“Louie, you’re just makin’ assumptions. I never saw no furlough notice addressed to you.” “Tommy Lee said he mailed it, so it got here, Mom.” “Now why would I throw out an official government document addressed to you?” “I dunno, Mom. ‘Cuz maybe you had a little headache the mornin’ it arrived?” “Louie, your insinuations is insultin’.” “I’m not insinuatin’ nothin’, Mom, I’m sayin’  you’re the one collects the mail, I never got my notice, ergo — ” “Oh, ergo my sweet patootie!”)


Quick, Pops! Where am I?

Quick, Pops! Where am I?

ANYWAY, Pops, the MIB is back up ‘n’ runnin’, so that’s good. ‘N’ Tommy Lee says there should be no more disruptions to Innernet communications. (The gerbils that run the Innernet machines was all on furlough, too, ‘n’ that’s why computers was doin’ funny things.) HOWEVER, anythin’ that was inadvertently monitored or otherwise unavailable BEFORE the furlough is still prob’bly caught in a perpetual snafu, so you may never be able to look at them leaves ‘n’ tell me whether they’re buckeyes or a hallucinogenic substance. But at least now I can say buckeyes without fear of deportation.

So without that crisis to weigh us down, me ‘n’ Mom is all atwitter with evidence of a different kinda invasion.

As she told you on the phone, she spent a goodly part of the afternoon weedin’ the gravel turnaround. (I woulda helped, but darn, I had to lie behind the fence ‘n’ sun myself instead.) ‘N’ durin’ one trip to the woods to dump her basket of weeds, I heard her stop ‘n’ exclaim in startlement.

I was on my feet in a flash. “You OK, Mom?” I hollered over the fence. I couldn’t see her ‘cuz of all the $#*&%^we^% ferns, ‘n’ I had horrible visions of her steppin’ on a rattlesnake or breakin’ off her ankle in a chipmunk hole.

“I’m fine, Lou,” she assured me. “But you gotta see this!!!!!”

‘N’ she dashed into the house ‘n’ blinged me up so’s I could venture into the side yard (which we pretend is ours but really belongs to the city, only the city seems to have forgot it owns it ‘n’ we don’t).

Is it baby bear poop? Only Pops will know.

Is it baby bear poop? Only Pops will know.

Well, the first thing I saw got my snout to twitchin’ somethin’ fierce. There was piles ‘n’ PILES of deer poop all around the crabapple tree. (I been tellin’ Mom quite vociferously every night that there was deer out there, but she’s just buried her head under the pillows ‘n’ ignored me.)

“Where’s Uncle Buck?” I demanded, ‘n’ I pawed the ground. “Where is that reprobate?????”

“Don’t get your shorts in an uproar, Lou,” Mom chided. “Deer poop’s no big deal. We see it all that time.”

“Then why was you gaspin’?” I asked.

“Oh, Louie, you’re gonna love this,” she said. ‘N’ we tiptoed behind the crabapple tree ‘n’ — oh, Pops! — there were two cute little piles of —


Honest to gosh, Pops, I seen it with my own two eyes. It’s waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay too big for deer poop, ‘n’ it’s not nice ‘n’ cylindrical like dog poop, ‘n’ it isn’t hairy like coyote poop. It’s a little on the small side, so me ‘n’ Mom have concluded, it is definitely baby bear poop.

But since you’re the poop expert, we’re gonna wait for your academic opinion before notifyin’ the newspapers ‘n’ Facebook. We’re sendin’ you a photo, with Mom’s foot in it to give it perspective.

We’d really like your conclusions by noon tomorrow so’s we can get online before anyone else. So the heck with work! Check out our picture ‘n’ let us know ASAP if it’s bear poop.

We can barely contain our excitement until we hear from you.


Pops replies:

Oh, Louie: I believe you are absolutely right. That IS bear poop (though us pro’s refer to it as bear scat). I think you should take precautions right away. First of all, call Tommy Lee again and report to him about the scat. Then set up the neighborhood watch again — you know, the barkin’ relays. And then you need to keep a vigil, all through the night, barkin’, barkin’, and barkin’. You need to keep the homeland safe until I can get word to Smokey that Canyon Trail is off limits to all bears. He’ll listen to me cuz of my federals credentials, but it might take a few days. Good job, Lou.

Published in: on July 29, 2013 at 10:01 pm  Leave a Comment  

July 28, from Louie, Day 58

Dear Pops,

I know you got a deep fondest for them brown nuts that some folks think is crimson ‘n’ gray (‘n’ which we dare not mention by name), but to quote Hippocrates (or maybe Guy Fawkes), desperate times call for desperate measures.

If you don’t want them federal monitors breathin’ down our necks, you gotta be practical, Pops. You gotta cross your fingers behind your back ‘n’ say stuff you maybe don’t really mean.

Sheesh, I’d’ve thought after all your many years in federal service, you’d’ve figured that out already!

It’s bad enough I gotta watch everythin’ Mom says until we get this mess straightened out. I can’t have you rootin’ for them you-know-whats, too.

Down here on Canyon Trail, we’re tryin’ to act perfectly normal, like nothin’ whatsoever is wrong with our Innernet access.

Mom took me on a lovely walk up to Merriman Road this mornin’, durin’ which we counted 20 new yard signs for our council opponent ‘n’ none for our candidate. It’s only July, but Mom says it already looks like she mighta offered her services to the less — um — organized contender.

Mom's idea of a selfie.

Mom’s idea of a selfie.

When we got home, Mom went into a whirlwind of dish-washin’ ‘n’ dustin’ ‘cuz she had to get up to the Boston store for her volunteer shift.

I woulda complained mightily about bein’ left at home alone, but for once, I was relieved to have Mom outta my hair. It give me all afternoon to work on our problem without her hoverin’ at my shoulders ‘n’ wringin’ her hands.

I tried everythin’ I could think of to get through to Tommy Lee — directory assistance, google, secret coded messages left under the basketball hoop, barkin’ relays with the other dogs in the neighborhood — ‘n’ nothin’ worked. Tommy Lee is unreachable, ‘n’ Will Smith, too. It’s like the whole MIB network has been shut down.

I’m thinkin’ that since it’s still 37 days until you come home, me ‘n’ Mom oughta take matters in our own hands. Maybe we oughta dig out all Mom’s old tie-dyed T-shirts ‘n’ bell bottoms, let our hair grow long ‘n’ douse ourselves in patchouli ‘n’ go march on Washin’ton ‘n’ hold a sit-in at the NSA. We’re all law-abidin’ Americans at heart, but it’s downright shameful that a harmless retiree like Mom ‘n’ dedicated public servants like you ‘n’ me is bein’ monitored ‘n’ denied access to our amusin’ pictures.

Whaddya think, Pops? Should me ‘n’ Mom hit the road?

Or should we knuckle under?

You tell us, Pops.

I’m breathlessly awaitin’ your answer.


Pops replies:

Oh, Louie: If the barkin’ relays among the other MIB agents in the neighborhood didn’t work, then I think maybe Tommy Lee’s on vacation. You know how it is with federal employees — they have a tendency to goof off. Oops, I did it again, didn’t I? Now we’re REALLY going to get monitored. Oh my, how will we survive these next few weeks?

Published in: on July 28, 2013 at 8:03 pm  Leave a Comment  

July 27, from Louie, Day 57

Psssst, Pops,

I gotta be very careful what I say.

YOU gotta be very careful what YOU say.

‘Cuz neither one of us wants to end up livin’ in a Russian airport waitin’ room, if you get my drift.

Me ‘n’ Mom was MOST alarmed to read that you was unable to view our latest picture. After all, it was just a bus.

But then you astutely warned us of the federal monitorin’ program, ‘n’ it all just clicked into place.

“Omigod, Lou,” Mom gasped, “what were we THINKIN’???? You LITTERED your letter to Pops with all sorts of dangerous code words!!!!”

“I DID????” I asked, stunned. “What’d I SAY?????”

“Words like psychedelic,” Mom said, tickin’ ’em off on her fingers. “Mellow ‘n’ leaves ‘n’ illegal substances ‘n’ marijuana — ‘n’ oh gosh, worst of all — you said BUCKEYES!”

“Sshhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!” I hissed as I wrapped a paw around Mom’s mouth. “Not so loud!”

“Moo phlate gor blat,” Mom mumbled.

“What’d’ya say, Mom?”

She slapped my paw away ‘n’ spit out a mouthful of gravel. “Too late for that,” she said, but at least this time she whispered.

“Aw geez, Mom,” I whispered back, “you really think we’re bein’ monitored?”

“Now that their computers tripped across them code words, you bet,” Mom said. ” ‘N’ probably your Pops, too. ‘N’ at his federal security level, this could mean big trouble for us ‘N’ our pensions.”

I just hung my head. “I wish we never saw that bus, Mom. ‘N’ I wish I’d never got a blog. ‘N’ I wish there’d never ever been an Innernet. It’s just too darned easy to get into trouble.”

“Big Brother can see what you’re thinkin’,” Mom sadly agreed.

“I don’t have a big brother,” I said.

“It’s just a figure of speech, Lou.”


Debby 'n' Joe say hi to Pops. (I wasn't invited to dinner. Sniff. Sniff.)

Debby ‘n’ Joe say hi to Pops. (I wasn’t invited to dinner. Sniff. Sniff.)

‘N’ we morosely contemplated our future in solitary confinement, all ‘cuz some neighbor was drivin’ a funky bus ‘n’ we took a picture of it.

I was just askin’ Mom whether we might have adjoinin’ cells when she suddenly snapped her fingers. “I got it, Lou! You gotta get on your dumb phone to Tommy Lee. If ever a situation called for innervention at the highest level, this is it!”

“Brilliant, Mom, just brilliant!” I barked excitedly as I dug through the dirty laundry, ‘cuz that’s where I hide my dumb phone. No thief with any sense of smell would ever think of lookin’ for it there. “Tommy Lee can clear this up real fast.”

Mom waited breathlessly as I punched in the secret number.

The phone was answered immediately by a robot who droned, “The number you have reached has been disconnected. Have a bad day.”

Mom ‘n’ me stared at each other in horror.

“We’re doomed,” Mom groaned.

“We’re so $)(%^*&$’ed,” I said solemnly.

Mom was in such shock, she didn’t even scold me for my adult language.

So, Pops, until I can figure out a way to correct this — um — situation, we gotta be very discreet. I’m still gonna write to you every night ‘n’ you gotta answer me every mornin’ so it don’t look like we’re behavin’ any different. We don’t wanna tip off the monitors that we’re onto them.

But be very VERY careful what you say. ‘N’ don’t even THINK of usin’ the word buckeyes.

Go, Wolverines!


P.S. Our picture tonight has nothin’ to do with any o’ this. I told Mom to send somethin’ that would put the monitors off our scent, so here’s a picture from her dinner with some guys named Debby ‘n’ Joe.

Pops replies:

Pops escapes to the Lake Alpine dam to calm his nerves.

Pops escapes to the Lake Alpine dam to calm his nerves.

Oh, Louie: No, no, no. Oh my, no. I will spend the rest of my life in a Russian airport … uh, I will subject myself to federal torture … uh, oh my, uh, I will move the basketball hoop to the end of our driveway before I ever, ever, ever say those two horrible words out loud. GO WOLVERINES!!!!!! Lou, what were you thinkin’? I must go lay down now and settle my nerves. It’s just too horrible to contemplate. I simply cannot abandon my beloved Buckeyes. Not for nothin’!!!

p.s. Recently, in a much calmer state, I did a selfie that shows the dam, without which the beautiful Lake Alpine would simply be Silver Creek.
Published in: on July 27, 2013 at 9:24 pm  Leave a Comment  

July 26, from Louie, Day 56

Psychedelic doin’s down on the trail, Pops.

‘N’ it’s got nothin’ to do with my perfectly legal prescription drugs.

Me ‘n’ Mom was already feelin’ mellow when we went out for our afternoon stroll. There was no errands or volunteer commitments on our schedule ‘n’ no deadlines to meet, so we was takin’ it kinda easy as we set off for a double around the neighborhood. The skies was clear, the temperature was accommodatin’, ‘n’ best of all, NO ONE WAS PLAYIN’ BASKETBALL!!!!!

I had a very well-placed poop down on Eaglenest (well-placed meanin’ I backed up onto a fresh bed o’ mulch, makin’ it VERY easy for Mom to do her baggie thing) ‘n’ I was pretty near peed out as we made the turn onto Megglen. Mom was debatin’ whether to go home ‘n’ paint the furnace room door or paint the dog food cabinet ‘n’ I was pretendin’ like I cared, when suddenly our eyes was accosted by a MOST peculiar sight!

A gray-n-red bus was parked by the curb.

A gray-n-red bus PLASTERED with decals of very suspicious-lookin’ vegetation.

“What the heck is THIS, Mom?” I asked.

Mom squinted through her sunglasses. “Well, it looks like a truck that oughta be sellin’ ice cream cones, but it isn’t playin’ any annoyin’ music.”

” It’s not a truck, Mom, it’s a bus. Even I can see that.”

“Right,” Mom said as we slowly circled the vehicle, tryin’ to get a feel for why it was there.

” ‘N’ what are them leaves plastered all over the sides?”

Mom giggled a little self-consciously. “Well, they look like leftovers from my crazy youth.”

“You never had no youth, Mom,” I said quite seriously.

“Well, certainly not in YOUR lifetime,” Mom agreed.

“So what ARE they?” I demanded.

“Well, gosh, Lou, if I didn’t know better, I’d say they was pictures of an illegal substance called marijuana.”

“No!” I gasped.

“Oh, yes,” Mom said gravely.

“What’s wrong with marijuana? Is it poison or somethin’?”

“That depends on your point of view,” Mom said. “On the one hand, you have folks who find it very relaxin’ ‘n’ pleasurable. ‘N’ on the other hand, there’s people who don’t want you to be relaxed ‘n’ pleasurable, so they say it’s evil ‘n’ poisons your mind.”

I was perplexed. “Geez, relaxed ‘n’ pleasurable don’t sound so evil.”

“No, it don’t,” Mom said, ‘n’ she sighed like she was rememberin’ some other stuff from her irresponsible younger days.

Inquirin' minds ask, what is this bus sellin'?

Inquirin’ minds ask, what is this bus sellin’?

I had to give Mom a sharp tug on my bling to bring her back to earth.

“But back to the first hand,” she said, shakin’ her head to clear it of its youthful fog, “they might not be marijuana at all. They might be another hallucinogenic substance called buckeyes.”

” ‘N’ is buckeyes illegal?” I asked.

“Not in THIS state,” Mom assured me. “Buckeyes are what change otherwise lucid ‘n’ intelligent bein’s like your father into wild-eyed ravin’ lunatics once a week durin’ football season.”

“You mean like when he claws his red worry pillow?”

“‘x-ACT-ly,” Mom said.

“Well, then, what are they, Mom? Marijuana or buckeyes?”

“I don’t have a clue,” Mom said. “We’ll just send a picture to your dad ‘n’ let HIM make a rulin’.”

So here’s the picture, Pops. Whaddya think?

Buckeyes or marijuana?

Like, wow, man, we really need an answer.

Before I start seein’ paisley again.

Your naturally high,


Pops replies:

Well, Lou, this is very suspicious. I tried repeatedly to click on your photo to find out whether those are buckeye leaves or Mary Jane leaves. Except I couldn’t. I keep getting an error message with advice to check my Internet provider. Soooooo, well, I now believe we have fallen under the federal monitoring program. You better check with Tommy Lee.

Published in: on July 26, 2013 at 9:38 pm  Leave a Comment  

July 25, from Louie, Day 55

Well, Pops, it’s been a low-key kinda day on Canyon Trail. Mom DID leave me for a while to take Mr. Rav to the car doctor’s, but she wasn’t gone longer’n a good afternoon nap, ‘n’ she brought home MEAT for our dinner, so I can’t really complain.

For our hike this evenin’, we went out to Indigo Lake, where we had a pleasant chat with Ranger Brady about the idiosyncracies of dogs (I woulda mentioned the idiosyncracies of HUMANS, ‘specially the ranger variety, but Mom told me to hush) ‘n’ then we hiked on over to Hale Farm.

Me ‘n’ Mom stretched out on the bench, just like I used to do with you, ‘n’ as we was watchin’ the sun preparin’ to set, Mom mentioned that you’ve been gone 55 days now, ‘n’ it’s only 40 until you come home.

“But, Mom,” I said in shock, “we haven’t finished half the projects we set out to do!”

“I know,” Mom said. “So many other things has got in the way!”

“Like our excursions to the dog store,” I said, lickin’ my chops at the memory.

” ‘N’ our many free concerts in the parks,” Mom said.

I didn’t lick my chops over that one. That music might get Mom’s toes tappin’ ‘n’ her butt wigglin’, but it’s just noise to me.

” ‘Course, we’ve had a coupla crises in our first 55 days,” Mom reminded me.

“The ticks,” I said, noddin’ gravely.

“Most definitely the ticks,” Mom said, ‘n’ she automatically started feelin’ me up, just to make sure there was no free riders in my fur.

” ‘N’ gosh,” I said, “there was the storm that almost swept away Akron!”

“Oooooh,” Mom shivered, “that WAS excitin’, wasn’t it?”

‘N’ we happily reminisced about the Little Cuyahoga swallowin’ up great chunks of riverbank.

” ‘N’ don’t forget the furoche,” I reminded Mom.

“Which could come back at any time,” Mom pointed out.

“That furoche comes back,” I growled, “I’m movin’ to Alaska.”

“Your dad might like that,” Mom mused.

‘N’ we both thought awhile about the prospects of runnin’ the Iditarod.

Louie reminisces about the first 55 days without Pops.

Louie reminisces about the first 55 days without Pops.

“You know, Lou,” Mom said as we was preparin’ to hike back up the trail to Indigo Lake, “you haven’t had too many adventures this summer with the Men in Black.”

“Well, Mom, aliens is always a threat,” I ‘xplained, “but we kinda played out that story line, don’tcha think?”

“Pops is prob’bly bored with it,” Mom agreed.

“But I been thinkin’ about that basketball hoop in the street,” I said as I hauled Mom up the hill, ” ‘n’ I’m thinkin’ there might be a coupla more letters in that.”

” ‘Specially if me ‘n’ Mr. Rav run down a coupla kids,” Mom said.

“Oh, Mom,” I breathed, “that would make SUCH a cool letter! I could give the victims CPR, ‘n’ I’d end up a hero!”

“I’ll see what I can about that,” Mom said. But I kinda knew she was makin’ fun of me.

So we hiked on back to Mr. Rav, gigglin’ over memories of our summer so far, ‘n’ makin’ plans for your return.

Gosh, Pops, just 40 days ‘n’ 40 nights.

I can smell the steaks grillin’ already!

Hurry home!

Your WBD,


Pops replies:

Pops teachin' his munchkins a thing or two.

Pops teachin’ his munchkins a thing or two.

Oh, Louie: What an extraordinary photo of you! Yup, that’s our bench on the other side of the Indigo Lake trail. Many a fine evening spent sitting there, huh Lou. In a summer of great excitement and many doin’s on Canyon Trail, I think the photos alone tell quite a wonderful tale. Unlike your, um, words Lou, the photos are 100 percent accurate. Of course, the words together with the photos sustain your old Pops during his long summer of discontent.

p.s. Pops demonstrates for the munchkins that owls eyes don’t move, only their heads.
Published in: on July 25, 2013 at 9:52 pm  Leave a Comment  

July 24, from Louie, Day 54

Now Pops, don’t go gettin’ huffy on me.

It’s not like I’ve gone over to the dark side.

It’s just that after careful consideration of all the pluses ‘n’ minuses, I have decided to join Mom as a full partner in her litter patrol.

Aw, geez, I hear you groanin’ all the way out in California.

But this wasn’t a rash decision, Pops. Me ‘n’ Mom did a spreadsheet on Excel, ‘n’ bottom line: It just makes sense for me to add my talents to her business.

Remember that chicken leg a few weeks back in Hardesty Park? Well, even though Mom snatched it outta my jaws, the mere taste of it was enough to start me to thinkin’: There isn’t just muddy junk mail ‘n’ Acme receipts lurkin’ on the devil strips ‘n’ in the gutters. There’s FOOD out there, too.

OK, OK, I hear ya. There’s no tellin’ where that food come from, or how long it’s been lyin’ in the street. But I gotta tell ya, Pops, you humans worry way too much about fresh. Dogs don’t care nothin’ about sell-by dates. If it smells good, eat it.

‘Course, Mom doesn’t worry about rotten food as much as she frets about poisoned food. But my Mom didn’t raise no dummy. If it don’t smell good, don’t eat it.

So I figure I got all the bases covered, ‘n’ I’ve enlisted in Mom’s anti-litter endeavors.

Wednesdays (like today) is perfect days for pickin’ up trash in the neighborhood. You wouldn’t be-LIEVE how much junk falls offa the trucks on garbage day. Today, for example, in just one afternoon neighborhood walk, we picked up three beer cans, two potato chip bags (sadly empty), two broken disposable lighters, one pair of muddy slippers ‘n’ indecipherable scraps of paper too numerous to mention.

There was also a curious lump of some rubbery material in the gutter that Mom wouldn’t touch. In fact, she wouldn’t even let me sniff it.

“Why not, Mom?” I asked. “It’s litter, isn’t it?”

“It most definitely is,” she agreed.

“So stuff it in your bag,” I said.

“Not in a gazillion years,” she said as she tiptoed us around it.

“I don’t unnerstand,” I said.

“Ask your father,” she sniffed.

“He won’t unnerstand neither. He can’t SEE it.”

“Just tell him ‘rubber’ is the operative word here. He won’t need to see it.”

‘N’ she hauled me down the street away from that particular piece of garbage.

Louie in one of his perplexed moods.

Louie in one of his perplexed moods.

I still don’t get it, Pops. But I’m assumin’ some day you’ll ‘xplain it to me.

ANYWAY, the real payoff in all these litter patrols is sometimes when Mom is too busy pickin’ up her own trash to notice, I score some real food. Like the other day, I gobbled up a hunk of hamburger bun before the rain could wash off the grease. Yum! ‘N’ yesterday I found the tiny puckered end of a wiener hidin’ in some neighbor’s ivy.

But tonight I ALMOST got the best treasure of all. Mom was walkin’ me after her ‘xhaustin’ tour of volunteer duty, ‘n’ it was startin’ to get dark, so she didn’t see it. But I did. ‘N’ before she could yank on my bling, I had my jaws wrapped around HALF A RAWHIDE BONE!!!! Oh, Pops, it tasted so good, I wanted to swoon.

But darn it, it bein’ rawhide, I couldn’t chew it fast enough, ‘n’ at the last second, Mom come to her senses, swooped down ‘n’ yanked it outta my mouth.

“Bad, Louie,” she lectured. “Bad, bad, BAD!”

‘N’ she threw it back on the lawn where it came from.

I was sorely disappointed, ‘n’ the big dinner Mom made for me (with plenty of chicken sprinkles) wasn’t enough to chase that mouth-waterin’ goodness outta my memory banks.

But no matter. I saw ‘xactly where Mom threw it, ‘n’ if the coyotes don’t get it tonight, I’m draggin’ Mom back there first thing in the mornin’, ‘n’ that rawhide will be ALL MINE.

It’s the least I can do as a law-abidin’ member of the litter patrol.

Hee hee hee.

Your connivin’,


Pops replies:

When Pops goes to California, he gets to hike more'n Louie!

When Pops goes to California, he gets to hike more’n Louie!

Oh, Louie: You are simply remarkable. Thanks for helpin’ on the litter patrol. I think it’s great that you are ready to rid the neighborhood of such things as rawhide bones. I’d love to see your Excel spreadsheet. Probably fascinating.

p.s. If you look waaaaay in the background at the distance ridge, that’s Bear Valley.
Published in: on July 24, 2013 at 10:29 pm  Leave a Comment  

July 23, from Louie, Day 53

Well, Pops, it’s a darned good thing I have your lovely thank-you card to comfort me, ‘cuz Mom was not nice today.

The mornin’ was packed with promise.

The skies was clear.

The temperature was tolerable.

The breeze was soothin’.

But things started goin’ downhill when instead of takin’ me for a good hike in the hills, Mom drug me up the sidewalks to Merriman Road ‘n’ back.

“How come we aren’t in the woods, Mom?” I complained. “How come? Huh? Huh? Huh?”

” ‘Cuz I’m busy,” Mom said curtly. (The curt part mighta had somethin’ to do with the empty red juice bottle on the kitchen counter.)

‘N’ no matter how much I pestered her, she wouldn’t take me on a real hike.

‘N’ she forgot the bacon sprinkles on my breakfast.

Bad BAD sign. ‘Specially when Mom went into a whirlwind of housecleanin’, topped by a VERY early shower.

Expectin’ the worst, I gathered up my little Buddies ‘n’ we all hid under the big bed in case there was a trip to the vet’s in someone’s future.

But no, instead of somethin’ very bad happenin’, somethin’ very good appeared to be occurrin’. A strange car pulled into the driveway ‘n’ who should come knockin’ at the front door but —


Well, I tore out from under the bed ‘n’ danced in frenzied circles around Uncle Bob’s feet. It was so wunnerful to have another MAN in the house that I was overcome with joy. Uncle Bob don’t know how to play tag like you, but he’s almost just as good scratchin’ my ears, ‘n’ whenever HE’S here, lotsa food can’t be far behind.

But just as I was tyin’ my napkin around my neck so’s not to drip all them meaty juices on my magnificent chest, my heart was crushed. Mom fed me a Milkbone, patted me on the head, ‘n’ she ‘n’ Uncle Bob LEFT!!!!!


I dashed to the front window ‘n’ plastered my wet snout against the freshly scrubbed glass ‘n’ watched in disbelief as Mom ‘n’ Uncle Bob sped down the driveway without so much as a goodbye wave to me.

I was left alone.


Unfair, Pops, waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay unfair.

‘Specially when the skies soon got fearsome dark ‘n’ a great thunder boomer rolled down Canyon Trail, ‘n’ I was forced to withstand the lashin’ rain ‘n’ the poundin’ hail ‘n’ the sizzlin’ lightnin’ all by my lonesome, with no Mom to hug me ‘n’ tell me everythin’ would be all right.

It was a most terrible afternoon. I kept flashin’ back to that horrible day when the Little Cuyahoga swelled up to a hunnert times its natural size, ‘n’ I was sure this time I was gonna be swept away to Botzum without anyone to jump into the roilin’ waters to save me.

But somehow me ‘n’ the house managed to hang on. (I don’t know how many more of these storms our little homestead can withstand, Pops. It’s been one blood-curdlin’ assault after another this summer, ‘n’ I’m pretty sure it’s ‘cuz you’re out there in California instead of home with us, where you’re wanted the most.)

But I digress.

Eventually the storm blew away.

‘N’ eventually Mom ‘n’ Uncle Bob returned after a most unsatisfactory afternoon gamblin’ away our retirement.

Louie hangs out in Mr. Rav.

Louie hangs out in Mr. Rav.

Well, I was so glad to see them, I forgot how mad I was at bein’ left behind, ‘n’ once again I danced around Uncle Bob in a frenzy. But he was so tuckered out, he just give me one little scratch behind the ear, ‘n’ then he went home.

I was alone with Mom.

“Well, Mom,” I said sternly, “what do you have to say for yourself?”

“Well, Louie,” she said wearily, “we’re eight dollars poorer than we were this mornin’.”

“Hmph!” I sniffed.

” ‘N’ I got a thumpin’ headache from all that casino noise.”

“Serves you right,” I huffed.

” ‘N’ we ate dinner at a restaurant without you.”

“Mom!” I howled. “HOW COULD YOU??????” ‘N’ I curled up ‘n’ a pitful little ball of neglect on the kitchen rug.

But then Mom give me her most devilish smile.

“I brought you somethin’, Lou.”

“I don’t want no poker chips,” I sulked.

“How about turkey chips?”

I wanted to sneer. But my tail thumpin’ wildly on the rug betrayed me. “Turkey chips?” I breathed hopefully.

Mom nodded. “With bacon sprinkles.”

“OMIGOD!” I yelped. “Gimme gimme gimme!!!!!!”

‘N’ Mom loaded up my food bowl with half a turkey ‘n’ bacon ‘n’ Swiss cheese samwich.

“See, Lou,” Mom said wisely as I inhaled a most inappropriate dinner, “I might leave you, but I never forget you.”

That Mom. Even when you hate her, you gotta love her.



Pops replies:

Pops has a new friend. Louie doesn't like it.

Pops has a new friend. Louie doesn’t like it.

Oh, Louie: It sounds like a perfectly horrible day all the way around. Fortunately, there’s always tomorrow.

p.s. Here’s a little fellow I see around here. He’s called a marmot. He has a close cousin called a woodchuck. Perhaps I could bring one home and you could be friends? Nah, just kidding, Lou. He’s a big rodent and you two wouldn’t get along.
Published in: on July 23, 2013 at 8:34 pm  Leave a Comment  

July 22, from Louie, Day 52

Oh, Pops!


I thought I was the only one in the whole wide universe who unnerstands just how hard it is to guard Mom 24/7, ‘specially when she gets in one o’ her stubborn streaks, but you KNOW!!!!!

Oh, gosh, such a relief. I am not alone.

See, Mom just thinks I do nothin’ but sleep ‘n’ poop ‘n’ snarf down kibbles.

She is sooooooo wrong.

Take today, for example.

Louie is beside himself with joy over his card from Pops!

Louie is beside himself with joy over his card from Pops!

After our mornin’ hike, it turned into a wet ‘n’ dreary day, with no adventures in our forecast. So Mom decided to take me along on her many, many errands.

Now, I like to go on errands, ‘specially if they include the dog store. (Sadly, this trip did not.) But Mom can be so clueless, she thinks that when she leaves me behind in Mr. Rav, I just nap or otherwise goof off.


It’s my JOB to protect Mr. Rav, ‘n’ I gotta be on super red alert the whole time she’s shoppin’. I stand at attention on the console the WHOLE TIME so’s I can swivel my massive head 360 degrees (182.22222222222223 degrees Celsius) ‘n’ see anyone who might be threatenin’ us. ‘N’ believe me, Mr. Rav ‘n’ me get threats ALL the time.

Like when we stopped at the library so’s Mom could trade in my Rin Tin Tin for a Wolfman (who is really more appropriate for my mature seven years), a gaggle of preschoolers filed by ‘n’ they wanted to smear their sticky hands all OVER Mr. Rav’s shiny red coat. So I had to growl most sternly ‘n’ they jumped back ‘n’ sobbed in their mother’s unflatterin’ capris. So there, crummy little kids!

‘N’ when we stopped at Acme to load up on MEAT, a hooligan tried to peer in the windows to see what good stuff Mom mighta left behind, but I bared my magnificent fangs ‘n’ put the fear of Dog in his larcenous heart.

‘N’ when we stopped at the bank so’s Mom could give them your hard-earned money in exchange for a flimsy piece of paper (hardly a fair trade, if you ask me), two teenage girls oohed ‘n’ ahhed at my handsome profile ‘n’ wondered if they could take me home with their little lap yapper. I’ll admit, the girls looked like they mighta been fun, in a giggly, airhead kinda way, but the lap yapper woulda driven me nuts. So I bravely ignored their flatterin’ invitation ‘n’ stoically remained on duty.

‘N’ this kinda stuff happens ALL the time when you ‘n’ Mom leave me alone in the car.

But now that I got your card, I know YOU at least unnerstand the many trials of bein’ Louie — always on duty, always sleepin’ with one eye open, always alert for orcs, hooligans ‘n’ red-tailed hawks that might do Mom harm.

It’s such a relief to know someone appreciates me.

You really didn’t have to buy me an expensive card, Pops. A heartfelt handwritten note on a piece o’ scrap paper would’ve been all right.

But if you get in the mood to thank me again once you get home, a T-bone in my dinner bowl would be ‘specially nice.

Your devoted,


Pops replies:

Oh, Louie: You and I have had many, many, many long talks. Of course I unnerstand. You have a tough, tough job — but, oh my, it’s certainly worth it, isn’t it?

p.s. Bret Harte: R.I.P.
That looks like Pops, but it's really Mr. Bret Harte.

That looks like Pops, but it’s really Mr. Bret Harte.











Mr. Bret Harte bids farewell.

Mr. Bret Harte bids farewell.


Published in: on July 22, 2013 at 9:19 pm  Leave a Comment